Galapagos Day 6: Small-scale farming

Subsistence agriculture has always been a part of life in the Galapagos, but it is rapidly being replaced by tourism. We visited a small family farm today to see how sugar cane and coffee were traditionally grown and harvested. Here we learned how a donkey or people can extract the juice from sugar cane. We then walked into a sugar cane grove to see how they planted it, and sampled brown sugar, coffee, and moonshine.

Subsistence agriculture has always been a part of life in the Galapagos. Today, we visited a small family farm to see how sugar cane and coffee were traditionally grown and harvested. Here we learned how a donkey or people can manually extract the juice from sugar cane, though the process is now mechanized. We then walked into a sugar cane grove to see how it was grown, and sampled brown sugar, coffee, and moonshine. Today, most of the products from this farm are sold on-site, as the family discovered ecotourism to be more lucrative. Despite the desire for self-sufficiency, the Galapagos are shifting to a service economy as tourism grows. In talking with our Isabela guide, we learned that there is tension between locals and tour companies, particularly cruises, that come to the Galapagos for the resources but contribute little toward the local economy. Our study abroad tour puts much-needed money into the economy as the tour leaders arrange for us to stay on-site, eat at local restaurants, and hire local guides. During our travels today, our guide stopped at a small bakery to buy cinnamon and chocolate bread and again at a small farm to buy three watermelons.

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2 thoughts on “Galapagos Day 6: Small-scale farming

  1. Okay, now I am insanely jealous … I love to see different farming operations especially in other countries. And, you had chocolate bread, moonshine and WATERMELON. Can this trip get any better? Glad to see it is going so well. You are missed here in the big city.

  2. Wow, that’s interesting about the tension with cruises. When we were staying in Flam, Norway (small little marina at the end of a long fjord) the cruise ships would dock everyday and unload their thousands of passengers into the little port. Because we were staying there for the week, it was really unpleasant when the huge ships pulled in, blocked the view and ran their engines all day which was clearly polluting the air. Made me want to never go on a cruise!

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